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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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were taken over by the Communist Party. Any small private enterprise
was also taken if the owner was known to be of the inteligentsia. In
Western Poland., any property in the towns was confiscated by the Germans
when it had been incorporated into the Reich., and under the new rulers
this property was not returned to the owners. As a means of policing,
* Tenants' Committees ' were formed in the towns for every block of flats
and group of houses.
The machinery of factories., firstly ail those re-organised or built during
the Germans' stay, were recognised as military booty., dismantled and sent
to Russia. The extent of this Soviet exploitation of the country can be
judged by the fact that the pipe-line providing the gas for the surrounding
districts of Southern Poland was now directed eastward to the Soviet
Ukraine. The railways were widened to take Russian rolling stock.
In any factory left functioning, Soviet Committees were appointed. In
all branches of economic life there was a move to level the structure of the
country to that of the Soviet Union. The situation of the average person
under Soviet rule in Poland can be judged from the following letter,
brought from Warsaw to England by one of the English prisoners-of-war
in April, 1945 •'—
" We were in the suburbs of Warsaw when the rising began., and we did
not take part in it—our cottage, furniture, all we had, no longer exists. My
mother-in-law was in Warsaw during the rising and we have been lucky
enough to get her out of the concentration carnp set up for the c bandits of
Warsaw ' at Pruszkow. We are alive—that is the main thing, but we can
not see any future for ourselves—our one dream is to escape, for it is doubtful
whether they will allow father to return here, the red politicians hate Poles
of father's kind. We are reduced to almost nothing. Karol, being an
engineer, can perhaps find us the means of eking out an existence, but not
to live. I don't see any way of escaping from here. Can you help us at
all ? I hope this letter will avoid censorship, otherwise I dare not write to
you so openly as this. Hunger is rife here, and now they are confiscating
the little the Germans left—horses, cattle, etc. We have no money, ours has
lost its value. It was with great difficulty that we got them to change
500 zloty per person, and we have only been able to change 1,000 zlotys
(it was a family of four) and a kilogram of butter costs 600 zlotys. You can
imagine a little of what our life is like. They are also mobilising our
people and they have taken all the men and many women. The ' Fascists
and reactionaries ' as they will call all those who had any property or goods
have been arrested. We have gone through so many trials, but this seems
to be the end for us. We are at the end of our strength and courage—we
cannot see any future, but we can only hope and hope gives us the force
to work and keep alive ..."
The c Lublin Committee/ who, on the strength of its activities, was
claiming de facto to be a Government, encountered difficulties which even
a well-established government, based on the confidence of its people,
would hardly have been able to overcome unsupported. Moscow, apart
from promises, gave no material help when she established the Committee*
but, on tie contrary, demanded that it should produce supplies for the